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Monthly Archives: September 2010

wtf: what the friday?! girls gone wild

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So remember a few weeks back, when I told you about the girl who had acid thrown in her face outside a coffee shop? Well, in a strange twist, it turns out it was all a hoax. She did it to herself. Who the heck would DO something like that? I don’t even like washing my face when I have a sunburn. I can’t imagine giving myself an acid facial, even as much as I love being the center of attention. Apparently people became suspicious when she cancelled her appearance on Oprah. Apparently, she wrote a note on her Facebook page saying that she originally wanted to be on the show so she could “tell people about Jesus.” Newsflash: Jesus doesn’t like liars very much. Additionally, another woman who was a real victim of what is being considered a copycat attack, speaks out about the faker, Bethany Storro.

This morning on the Today show I saw this clip about a mother concerned with the lyrics to a cheer that her six-year-old was performing. After she complained to the coach, her daughter was promptly removed from the squad. Apparently the coach also referred to the mother as a “lunatic” when speaking to another news outlet. In the 500th hour of the Today show, Kathie Lee told Hoda Kotb that the coach sounded like Sue Slyvester from Glee. First, I say don’t insult Jane Lynch in such an impertinent manner. Secondly…I don’t know that having Kathie Lee come to your defense really helps the whole, “I’m not a lunatic” thing.

As for the cheer, here is the allegedly risqué chant: “Our backs ache/our skirts are too tight/we shake our booties from left to right.” I don’t necessarily know if this is so much suggestive as it is just…dumb. “Our backs ache/our skirts are too tight”? These kids are practically toddlers, for cryin’ out loud. Whatever happened to two bits, four bits?

While looking for this story to link to, I found other much more alarming stories, like this one about mothers taking their preteen daughters to have their body hair waxed—before puberty has even had the chance to come knocking. “For waxing, 12 years old is the ‘new normal,’ ” says aesthetician Melanie Engle. One mom even requested that a stylist wax her daughter’s back hair; the little girl was just six years old. My mom waited forever to even let me shave my legs! And now, I wish she never would have.

And now, for something that makes me happy: The very first plus-size-only runway show at New York Fashion Week. It’s so nice and refreshing to see bigger girls making a big splash. Check out some of the looks featured on the runway over at InStyle. In attendance were Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray), KayCee Stroh (High School Musical), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) and one of my personal favorites, Emme.

It’s interesting to look through these photos and see what qualifies as “plus-size.” Many people (me included) might glance and say, “Why, these women are perfectly normal-sized!” And they are—when it comes to everyday women. But as one of my idols (and major girl crush) Crystal Renn stated, in the fashion world, plus-size just means “plus the norm.” So if the typical model is a size 2—then yeah, even a size 10 is considered “plus-size.” Excellent perspective.

How’s your Friday so far?

it tastes the same…if you close your eyes…

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The other day at Publix, I bought a bag of lentils.  I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I hit the Internet for some recipe ideas and to do a little background check on my new friend(s).

A few lentil notes:

  • They get 25% of their calories from protein, and they are a great source of iron—perfect for a vegetarian diet
  • Legumes have the third highest protein count (by weight) of plant-based foods, behind soybeans and hemp
  • Lentils come in a variety of colors, the most common are brown and green
  • They have been said to lower cholesterol and are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins
  • At 230 calories for a whole cup, lentils keep you full and satisfied without taking in a lot of calories

Lentils have what can be described as a meaty texture.  They’re used in all sorts of dishes instead of meat and are especially plentiful in Indian food.  Check out Meghann’s Lentil Shephard’s Pie and Emily’s Indian Lentils with Spinach and Eggplant.

After a little poking around, I decided on Vegetarian Sloppy Joes.  There are plenty of recipes on the Internet, but I structured mine around one I found on VeganDad’s blog.  I made a few changes, by using brown lentils instead of red.  I used about 3.5 servings of lentils (dry), and I cut everything in the original recipe in half since I was only making about 4 servings.  I also cooked my lentils first, then mixed them in with my sauce and let that sit on the stove for a while.

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I decided to pull double duty by steaming my broccoli on top of the lentils.

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I love ketchup…and it isn’t often that I get to pour it into recipes by the (half) cup full.  The brand I use (Hunt’s) has no HFCS added, and I can get behind that.

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We had these on sandwich thins served alongside steamed broccoli and homemade potato chips.  They were so good!  I never really ate Sloppy Joes as a kid, but I thought these would give them a run for their money.  True to name they were quite messy, but it was totally worth it.

And as for the potato chips…if you don’t have a mandolin, you need to get one.  Jonathan gave me mine for Christmas last year, and I absolutely love it.  The brand is OXO I believe, and you can find them at most retail stores.  I used it to slice up a few Yukon gold potatoes, then I spread them out on a baking sheet with a little S&P and baked them at around 400 degrees till they were crispy and brown.

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Check. That. Out.  You read a newspaper through those slices.

One helpful hint:  Be sure to watch these.

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I could have been sneaky and just showed you the pretty ones…but I believe in showing the good, the bad, and the burned.  And there you have it.

Do you have meatless meals often?  What’s your favorite creative swap?  Do you have any fun lentil recipes to share?  I really want to try Jenna’s Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf.

going rogue

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Earlier this week, Craig called up asked if I’d be interested in going to have lunch somewhere downtown, near my office.  After a quick moment of deliberating between having leftovers or something new and fun, I answered with a resounding yes.

We decided to hit up Rogue Tavern on 2nd Ave N.  This place has sort of pub feel to it, with exposed brick and strategic lighting.  There are plenty of tables to sit down at and have a bite, even a little area with couches and chairs for drinking and socializing.  Out back, there’s a lovely patio area with seating as well.  In one corner, there’s a large stage for various bands and open mic nights.

We’d been here several times before, but only in a bar-type setting.  A group of us actually celebrated New Year’s Eve here—it was so much fun!  Not too crowded, but awesome 80s music and plenty of confetti and pizzazz.

I take it back:  Jonathan and I dinner there once.  It was pretty good.  I had the Muffaletta, but I can’t really give a satisfactory review since I’m a Central Grocery muff kinda girl.

Anyway, for lunch.  We walked right in; there were people in the place, but it wasn’t crowded.  After taking some time to glance over the menu, I settled on the Portobella Burger:  “a marinated and grilled portabella mushroom with roasted tomato and provolone.”  I requested grilled veggies instead of the chips.  Craig had been craving a salad, so he chose the Greek salad with grilled chicken.

There was a brief moment of confusion when our server asked me how I “wanted it cooked.”  I looked at her.  “My…mushroom?” I asked.  “Uh…well done?”  I didn’t know if there was some cool lingo I wasn’t hip to.  She later approached me on my way to the ladies’ room (where she gently brushed the hair off my shoulder…?) and asked, “Now, you know there’s no meat on that, right?”  Strange.

Our food was out within a reasonable amount of time.  I ended up getting the chips in addition to the veggies, which I shared with Craig.


The aforementioned grilled vegetables consisted of squash, peppers, onions, carrots and celery (??).


They were good, but doused in oil. I had some of the chips, too, and they were better.  Instead of being greasy and salty, they were perfectly crisp without tasting like they took an hour-long dip in the Fry Daddy.

My sandwich was also good, but lacking something.  I ended up removing the top bun and having it open-faced.  I think goat cheese would have lent more flavor overall, or maybe some pesto?  The mushroom tasted like it was marinated in balsamic vinegar, but it wasn’t too strong.  The sandwich could have been made better with the use of more grilled veggies.

Craig really enjoyed his salad (he cleaned his plate!), and for me being someone who doesn’t eat salad often, I thought it looked like it’d be worth a shot.

There were plenty of olives and huge chunks of feta to go around.

I’ll definitely continue to visit Rogue to have drinks with friends and socialize in a fun atmosphere.  As for the food, I’ll probably be back, but it’s not at the top of my list.  (But its neighbor, Urban Standard…that’s a different story!)

What do you look for in a good vegetarian sandwich?  Or just a good sandwich?

will the real summer please stand up?

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I hate that I missed a lot last week.  I wanted to blog, I took plenty of pictures…but I felt like such a wreck.  I was having a bad case of the blues anyway.  Nothing a trip to the state fair can’t cure, right?  I mean, crappy food, animals, monkeys riding dogs??? We had so much fun, walking around, people watching, and riding the creepy carnie rides (seriously—have you ever watched those things?  One loose screw and I’m afraid that tilt-a-whirl is coming down).  And I even treated myself:

I wonder if I can fit the whole thing in my mouth...

An elephant ear! Fried dough covered in sugar and cinnamon.  No worries—I shared.

All was going well, until we were headed home and I decided to stop by the store to buy some cat food.  I reached into my purse to get my wallet, and…my hand came up empty.  I looked around the floor of the car, in the seat…nothing.  It was gone.

I have never in my life had a purse or wallet stolen.  There was only one time at the fair that my purse wasn’t right by me.  We were riding this crazy ride, and I was super hesitant to leave it.  But I did, and I kept my eye on it the whole time.  I even had the foresight to stuff my iPod in my pocket in case someone were to steal my purse.  I think someone slipped their hand in and made off with my sweet little red crocodile wallet.  I loved that thing.

It’s probably the worst thing that has happened to me.  At least in a while.  I had everything in there.  And I mean everything.  I’ve had to cancel cards, get new ones, call places, struggle without a debit card.  What really sucked was when I tried to get my license.

I called work and told them I’d be a little late and went to the courthouse.  I stood in line for about an hour to find out at the counter that I didn’t have any of the things I needed to get a license.  Granted, I really should have called to find out what I should do, but I just kept thinking, “This happens all the time!  Surely they know what to do.”

She asked did I have a social security card.  I responded that it was in my wallet (dumb, I know) and that I couldn’t get a new one without my birth certificate (which turned out to be wrong) and…my license.  She asked did I have another form of photo ID.  No, m’am, my wallet was stolen and everything was in there.  “Do you have a marriage license?” she asked.  Uh, no, and thanks for rubbing it in.

I left clutching a list bearing the things I needed to prove myself and a slightly less optimistic demeanor.  I headed home to my apartment where I had my most recent W-2s (on the list) and called work to let them know I’d be a little later than anticipated.  I arrived home only to realize that, under further review, my W-2s would not suffice since they were not the originals (my father does my taxes and he has them in his possession).

I had lunch and did the only thing left to do—I called my mother.  I decided that I would come home (an hour away), get some cash out (my mom works at my bank), and get my birth certificate (which I found out would not work).

Finally, it became clear that the only thing left on the list that would do me any good would be to get a proof of enrollment from my university—another 30-45 minutes away.

Houston Cole Library---my second home for many years

It was after three.  I hopped in my mom’s car—wait, did I mention that I have had no air conditioning this whole time?  My mom generously offered me her car, which I happily accepted.  I drove to Jacksonville and went straight to the registrar’s office.  And guess what?  YOU NEED A PHOTO ID.  Luckily, I had explained my situation and presented the only thing I managed to scrounge up—an old Xeroxed copy of my license from 2004 from my file at my mom’s bank—and she was more than happy to help.  Finally, I was getting somewhere.

thank you, for once, registrar's office

As I got ready to leave, I experienced something I hadn’t had to worry about since years ago when I graduated—school traffic.  Fortunately I still remembered some old tricks and got out onto the main stretch via a back road.  It was now 415pm.  The courthouse in Gadsden closed at five.

I hauled it to get back in time and made it with just five minutes to spare.  The women were so nice and quite sensitive to my plight.  I took my place in front of the blue screen, slightly worse for wear, and attempted to put a lovely smile on my face.  Or at least one that I can live with for the next two years when I renew my license.

meh. it'll do.

It’s ok.  I like my old picture better :(  The one before was HIDEOUS.  I was all red-faced and 50 pounds heavier.  It was…bad.

The gloom and doom wasn’t over yet.

I drove back to my mom and dad’s about 20 minutes away to have dinner and sulk at my own personal pity party and hopefully pick up my car that my dad was going to try and fix.  He came into the den to let me know he had some bad news:  my air compressor is toast and my back right tire is so worn out that the strings and wires are beginning to show.  And cherry on top:  it’s not going to be cheap.

Perfect.

So that’s what I’ve been dealing with.  I’m trying to put it past me.  Some of my replacement cards came in the mail, and I doing my best to be at peace with the fact that there’s a chance that someone out there is assuming my identity and laughing at all my old college IDs and using my coupons.

Have you ever had your wallet or purse stolen?  Was your experience as awful as mine?

PS I almost forgot to mention that I did have a bright moment last week!

lara, I love you

I spotted the new Larabars at Publix!  (minus Carrot Cake)  AND they were on sale!  I’ve had Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (love) and Peanut Butter Chocolate.  I still have yet to try the Chocolate Brownie and want to find the Carrot Cake.  Do you like Larabars?  Have you had any of the new ones?

running my legs and my mouth

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Evening!  I had a nice run this evening with Jen and Craig.  We hit the Jemison Trail and it was quite pleasant!  Waiting until 6pm made all the difference, I think.  The sun was off hiding somewhere and the heat had subsided.  The humidity wasn’t too bad, but I’m definitely ready for cooler months.  It’s nice running with friends.  I love my iPod and enjoy it when Gaga gets me going, but it’s fun to chat with friends.  It makes the time go by faster.  Only problem for me:  I’m still not that fast and I still get pretty winded.  But I sweat!

I hit up the grocery store to grab a few things when we got done, but I definitely need to go back.  I ended up only getting what I could carry in arms—no cart or basket.  Update:  It is STILL not advisable to go to the grocery store hungry/right after a workout.  I had plans of making VeganDad‘s cajun chickpea cakes, but when I got home, Roomie Reagan made me a dinner offer I didn’t refuse.

She made dinner tonight (and I helped!) and it was awesome:  shrimp and scallops in my lemony sauce.  I diced up some red potatoes for the side and opened a can of no-salt-added green beans.  (We have no fresh  produce.)

that's right---water in a pint glass and wine in a juice glass. I'm klassy like that.

It was enjoyed while watching the season finale of Glee;  I cannot WAIT for the premiere!

I also picked this interesting item up at the register—total impulse buy.

Mint chocolate chip…gum?  We’ll see.

Tomorrow Craig and I are doing (what used to be) our usual Wednesday night routine:  3 mile run followed by draft beer :)  I’ve got to get my road legs back to where they were; I’m running my first 5k of the fall season this Saturday.  It’s the Head Over Teal run supporting ovarian cancer research.  It’s being sponsored by the Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation. Check out Laura’s Caring Bridge site and read her story; it’s heartbreaking.

Did you know…

  • Most ovarian cancers happen after change of life (menopause). Half of all these cancers are found in women over the age of 63.  (Laura was only 24 when she was diagnosed.)
  • One in 69 women will face ovarian cancer in their lifetime.  In 2009, over 21,000 cases were diagnosed and over 14,000 women died from this silent killer.
  • It appears that obese women have a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer. One ACS study found a higher rate of death from ovarian cancer in women who were overweight. The risk went up by 50% in the heaviest women.
  • A recent study of women who followed a low-fat diet for at least 4 years showed a lower risk of ovarian cancer. Some studies have shown a reduced rate of ovarian cancer in women who ate a diet high in vegetables, but other studies disagree.

(All information taken directly from the LCB Ovarian Cancer Foundation website.)

I love to run 5ks, especially ones supporting causes that are close to my heart.  I’ll be running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in October.  It was my very first 5k last year!

Would you be more likely to participate in race if it was for a charity close to your heart?  It makes the fees associated with races a little easier to swallow, in my opinion.  I so wanted to run the St. Jude’s Half Marathon this year (very close to my heart for reasons I’ll have to cover in the blog later), but sadly, I discovered last week that it is already full!  Sigh.  I was tres disappointed.

turn and face the Chang’s

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PF Chang’s, that is.  Jonathan and I were a little overdue for a fun date night.  Friday evening we went up to the Summit for some shopping (which translated into Jonathan buying pants and shirts, and me aimlessly wandering between sections, checking out his options).  Before we knew it, time had gotten away from us and we were both hungry.  We narrowed down our options, and J had never been to PF Chang’s.  And so it was.

We started off with some steamed pork dumplings.

And oh, were they good!  (Additionally:  Upon viewing the nutritional info for Chang’s, these weren’t a bad choice—nor was my dinner entree.)  I attempted to use the chopsticks, but I find that a fork works just as well.

I also had a Sapporo for a starter.

It’s so tasty on draft!

For my entree, I had the almond and cashew chicken, sauce on the side, with steamed brown rice.

no sauce

sauce :)

I really love the use of nuts in different dishes.  (TWSS)  This dish had peppers, onions, bok choy (a nice surprise and great flavor!), mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.

Jonathan had the hot fish, which consisted of fried catfish in a Sichuan sauce, stir-fried with veggies.

hot fish! comin' through!

It was tasty too, with a good flavor.  A little too much spice for me, though.

We opted out of dessert in favor of a trip up the mountain…Yogurt Mountain!

(Whenever I talk about Yogurt Mountain, I think about Candy Mountain.  “Shun the non-believer!  Shhhhhhuuunnnnn….”)

toppings galore!

I had a mixture of blueberry and coconut froyo, topped with chocolate waffle cone pieces, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, blueberries and some caramel syrup.

Hey!  I can splurge if I want to.

I don’t even know what Jonathan had, but I know that it was topped with yogurt covered Pop Rocks.

Do you have any self-serve froyo places near you?  What’s your favorite combination?

till you drop

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This past weekend, Jonathan and I enjoyed a fun night out, complete with some browsing of the stores in the Summit area.  The center includes some department and specialty clothing stores.  Our first stop:  Belk’s.

While shopping for myself, I was made painfully aware of where I do and do not belong. I made my way through the mountains of shoes that were bumping $200 (on sale) and over to a sea of purses. Some were gorgeous, rich fall colors, crafted from sexy leather with curvy lines and classic shapes.  I quickly became intoxicated by the smell, seduced by the buttery soft handbags…then I turned a price. Holy shit, $400 for a purse??!? No. Just…no.

I looked longingly through the other designer bags…Kate Spade…Michael Kors…Marc Jacobs…I do draw the line at Dooney & Bourke, though. I think those are just…eesh. All the logos remind me of high school, when the cool chicks wore Tommy Girl sweaters with the big-ass flags emblazoned across their chests, denoting, “I’m cool.”  Those purses look like something Lisa Frank might vomit up after inhaling several bags of gummy bears on an all-night LSD trip.

I made my way over to the discount diva section of the store. Much more my speed. While the Brahmin bags may have wanted to take me all the way, Fossil promised me at least first base and a delicious leather scent, all while leaving my cash flow in check. I knew I was right where I should be when I noticed that some other frugal frau had left her Sam’s Choice Diet Cola can between Kim Rogers and Nine West.

Alas, I left with nothing but knowledge of men’s pants that I gleaned after watching J pick out pair after pair.  Khaki, chino, flat front, pleated.  They all looked the same.  He might as well have been asking me, “Should I go with the pants, or the pants?”

Jonathan is lucky that I like the way he looks in pants.  This relationship would’ve been over a long time ago ;)  I love to go shopping, but he wears me out.  Case in point:  On our first anniversary, I had made plans for us to take a little road trip to Peach Park in Clanton, AL, finally making our way down to Flea Market, Montgomery. (It’s just like, a mini-mall!!)

Our plans were delayed when J casually mentioned that he noticed a sale going on at Joseph A. Bank, and could we please stop by?  Three hours and two new suits later, we managed to grab lunch and some homemade ice cream at in Clanton, returning home to make French bread pizzas and bask in the menswear afterglow.  Lesson learned:  boy loves some clothes.  And he loves to know what you think.

One fun note about the three-piece detour:  I got to flex my acting chops.  While Jonathan was trying on one particularly sassy suit (for my approval, of course), the salesman kept point things out to me, using words like “seat” and “inseam” and “twill.”  I moved my head this way and that, pretending to understand, until he said, “As I was telling your husband, it would be no problem to take this in a little, or let this out.”  Question mark?  Rolling with the punches, I said, “Yes, yes.  My husband.  Excellent.  Great choice.  Worsted wool.  Wrinkle-free.  Cufflinks.”

As I wanted for my “husband” to finish up, a girl waiting on her fiancé struck up a conversation with me, talking about their upcoming nuptials and pending honeymoon.  “He wants to have some suits to wear on the cruise,” she relayed to me.  I nodded knowingly.  “Ah, yes,” I said, “I remember that.”  Then I laughed, perhaps a little too loudly.  Jonathan quickly caught on and beckoned me over the neckties, lest I embarrass us both.

That’ll show him to take me suit shopping again.

in my mouth: figurative tailgating and toast love

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College football season is officially in session.  Last week, I celebrated by visiting Auburn with my family and friends.  It’s my dad’s alma mater, and he couldn’t possibly be any prouder.

From here till Thanksgiving, I can pretty much count on watching some SEC game every Saturday.  Auburn threw me for a bit of a loop, playing on Thursday.  Luckily, they defeated Miss State, but not without some close calls.  I spent much of the game on the edge of my couch, directing Jonathan to stand in certain areas of the room.  For instance, if he was standing by the bookcase when we scored, but then he was in the kitchen and we fumbled, I’d force him to wait by the bookcase till Auburn managed to get their shit together.  Superstitious?  Maybe.  But we won :)

Anyway, I digress.  What I put in my mouth.  Craig and I were on our own for watching the Alabama vs. Penn State game.  (BTW:  I hate Alabama.  Just FYI.)  I had some veggies I needed to use up, and I’d been itching to make some turkey burgers.  Jonathan has these dinner rolls he’d been trying to force on us for the past several weeks, so I decided to combine the two and make turkey burger sliders.

For the burgers, I used extra lean Jennie-O turkey, which helped for a low-calorie and low-fat burger.  Don’t be fooled, though:  These had PLENTY of flavor.  I’ve made them before, but I tried a few new twists that I think made all the difference.

Note:  There aren’t a lot of prep pictures, but trust me, the gorgeous end result will help you to forgive me.

Turkey Garden Burgers (adapted from a Quaker Oats recipe)

1 lb extra lean ground turkey
¾ cup diced red and/or green bell pepper
½ to ¾ cup grated zucchini
½ to ¾ cup onion
a handful or so grated carrots
½ cup ketchup
1 cup oats
2 egg whites

First, de-seed and chop the red and green bell pepper.  (You won’t use all of it.)  You’ll need about ¾ cup altogether.  Set aside.

Grate a small to medium-size zucchini.  Sprinkle with a little salt and let it drain in a colander (there’s a LOT of water in that skinny veggie).

Finely chop about half of a small onion, or between ½ and ¾ cup, depending on how onion-y you want the burgers.

In a large bowl, mix together the meat with all the veggies.  Mix in the ketchup and the oats, adding the egg whites last.  (These work as a binder.  Very important!)

it's like a festival in a bowl!

Patty the burgers out to the size you want them to be.  Note:  I thought that they would shrink up, like regular burgers are wont to do.  Not so, friend.  These maintained their shape and size. (TWSS)  I blame the lack of fat.  We made eight patties, but I think we could have gotten away with maybe 10-12 at a smaller size.

To cook them, spray down your grill (be it a large outdoor one or of the George Foreman variety).  This is necessary so that they won’t stick.  Cook till the meat is nice and orange-y with sexy grill marks.

While the burgers cook, slice and toast some small dinner rolls.  Be careful with the knife.  They move fast—I learned that after I nipped my finger.

I thought it looked a little like a mouth, so I went with it.

hullo!

On the side, we had some of buffalo chicken dip that Craig whipped up.  (Recipe later.)

And voila!  Aren’t they gorgeous?

And the mouth party didn’t stop there.  For brunch on Sunday, one of my favorites:  French toast.

On the side, we made some (unpictured) hash browns with diced up red skinned potatoes.  I tossed them lightly in some olive oil, then spread them out on a pan covered with parchment paper, then dusted them with crushed rosemary and a little salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Give them a stir, and leave them be for another 10 minutes or some.  Take them out when they’re nice and brown.  (Ie, before they burn.)

For the French toast:  I used one egg for every two slices.  Crack and scramble one egg, then add in a splash each of milk and vanilla, add in a generous sprinkling of cinnamon, along with some sugar and pinch of salt.  Dunk each slice, flipping to coat both sides.

Cook in a pre-heated skillet (over medium heat) till toasty and brown, flipping to cook the other side.

The pictures from this weekend weren’t nearly as beautiful as some French toast I made a few weeks ago, so I’ll show you those instead :) It still tasted just as yummy! On this particular day, I had fresh blueberries on top, along with some syrup.

What did you eat this weekend?

give it a taste: yo’tato salad

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This past weekend, my friends and loaded up for some tailgating and SEC football fun down in Auburn.  (Woo!)  We met my parents and sister and some other friends in the heart of campus.  The spread included sandwiches, chips, sweets and my contribution:  baked beans and a new twist on potato salad.

I mentioned a while back that I’ve been experimenting with substituting plain yogurt in places where one might use mayonnaise, which I hate.  Someone mentioned using it in potato salad.  I boldly took on the task, and what resulted was, in my opinion, pretty darn tasty.

I call it…Yo’tato Salad.  (Scroll to the bottom for a complete ingredient list.)

yo' ingredients.

I started by gathering several Yukon Gold potatoes.

they look pushy.

Actually, I started by boozing.

hits the spot.

I diced them fairly small, as my first trial run proved to be too thick and chunky.  (That’s what she said.)

sliced and diced.

After the chopping was done, I move them over to my prepared steaming station.

That’s right, I’m ghetto like that.  No, I don’t have a steamer basket.  So I make do with what I have.  And what I have is a colander and a pot.  Due to the water spilling up into the colander, I ended up inadvertently steaming/boiling the diced potatoes.

While those were cookin’, I worked on the extra bits.  I sliced up several celery sticks and a handful of green onions real nice-like.

When the potatoes were almost done, I tossed the celery and green onions in, too.

that's the stuff.

Next, the crucial part:  the sauce.  I hardly ever measure anything.  I started with several shots of mustard, followed by a few spoonfuls of nonfat plain yogurt.  I had a little fat free sour cream, so I tossed that in, too.  Add a few forkfuls of pickle relish, sweet or dill.  Shake in some dill, paprika and garlic powder for good measure.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  At this point, I just start sticking my finger in there and tasting.  (TWSS)  Add whatever you think you need.  It’ll be a lovely shade of yellow.

mellow yellow

I put several blobs of sauce on the potato mix, mixing gently, being careful not to smash them into bits.  Try not to use too much—you don’t want potato salad soup.

And there you have it!  Mayo-free potato yo’tato salad.  Perfect for picnics and tailgating.  Granted, there may not be as many picnics in the next few months.  But at least now there’s an option for mayo cynics like me :)

I think the fridge says it all.

Yo’tato Salad

(sorry there aren’t any real measurements…)

Several potatoes (I used Yukon Gold)

celery sticks

green onions

sour cream

nonfat yogurt

mustard

dill

paprika

garlic powder

S&P

pickle relish

Do you tailgate in the fall?  What sort of treats do you bring?  My number one is, of course, beer!  It makes everything better.  I’m also a sucker for chips and dip.  I don’t eat a lot of chips, but sometimes I get in the mood.

a delightful treet

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After our fun girls’ night out, I rallied the troops (well, the two troops that were at my apartment) to head out to one of my favorite spots for brunch:  Bottletree.

bottles...on a tree...hm.

Bottletree is one of my very favorite places to hang out, eat, drink, and listen to live music.  I’ve been to a lot of fun concerts there.  One great thing about this place is that they have a lot of delicious vegan and vegetarian options.  Not to mention, it’s just a fabulous atmosphere.

We were very tired.

But we managed to get it together for some tasty sustenance.  I went with the sweet potato biscuits, soy sausage and fruit.

Reagan went with the La Vie Cochon, a tasty combination of French toast, ham and Swiss, and Rachel, a burrito jam-packed with all sorts of fun surprises.  Sadly…no more pictures.  Between being hungry and not quite comfortable with the whole “let-me-snap-food-pictures-in-a-restaurant” thing yet, it was over before we knew it.

We spent some time looking around when we were sufficiently stuffed.  There are vintage lunchboxes lining the bar, local art decorating the walls, and even a cart filled with games in one corner of the dining area.  My favorite part would have to be the bathroom.

All over the walls, you’ll find more local art and kitschy album covers.  One of my favorites is an exercise record composed of Christian music, entitled Firm Believer. Sadly, someone swiped it as of late.  Another sort of local graffiti is referenced in this fun note from the management:

What’s your favorite spot for brunch?  Are you comfortable taking food pictures in restaurants?

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